Bliss Heers & Goodbye Earn a Podium Finish in $37,000 Welcome Speed CSI 3* at Lexington

Lexington, Kentucky – May 12, 2021 – The 2021 edition of the Kentucky Horse Shows series kicked off Wednesday, May 12, with the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. Show jumping athletes from around the globe took to the Rolex Arena for the first week of the event’s spring series. A total of 44 hopeful contenders raced against the clock for their shot at the winner’s circle in the $37,000 1.45.m Welcome Speed CSI 3* Wednesday afternoon. In the end, it was Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam (IRL) who emerged victorious aboard his trusted speed mount Indra Van de Oude Heihoef, owned by the Blue Buckle Group.

Keen Krome’s 12-effort track set the pace at an 82 second time allowed, with various options on course for athletes to slice and dice on the turns. Starting the class on an early high note was the third pair in the order-of-go, United States’ Nicholas Dello Joio (USA) aboard Opium du Soufflet. Dello Joio and Rocking D Ranch’s gelding set the pace for the remainder of the class in a steady 72.16 seconds. His lead was quickly handed off to Canada’s Amy Millar (CAN) riding Christiano who shaved five seconds off of Dello Joio’s time, finishing in 67.96 seconds.

Those that followed found their pace and cleared the track with ease, but it would take 23 horse-and-rider combinations before the lead would change hands again. United States’ Molly Ashe Cawley put down a swift round to snatch Millar’s leading position.

Molly Ashe Cawley (USA) & Berdien

Molly Ashe Cawley (USA) and Berdien, a 10-year-old Zangersheide mare owned by Louisburg Farm, stopped the clocks in 66.99 seconds.

Just five horse-and-rider combinations later, rising American star Bliss Heers (USA) gave Millar a run for her money to take over the lead, piloting Bridgeside Farms LLC’s Goodbye, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, to a 66.24 second finish.

A new leader soon emerged as Ireland’s Sweetnam (IRL) entered the arena riding his longtime partner Indra Van de Oude Heihoef. The 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare is no stranger to a speedy finish, carrying Sweetnam to numerous CSI4* and CSI5* wins during the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) season. The pair slipped into the first place spot after making up extra time in their tight and efficient track, finishing in an impressive 64.73 seconds. In the end, the competitors to follow could not catch Sweetnam’s speedy lead, ultimately lending him the first place honors. Finishing in second place would be Heers and Goodbye, with Ashe Cawley and Berdien rounding out the top three.

Show jumping competition for the Kentucky Spring Horse Show continues at the Kentucky Horse Park Thursday, May 13, beginning at 8:00am. The Rolex Arena’s will feature the highlight class of the day, the $37,000 1.45m CSI3* Spring Classic.

Final Results – $37,000 Welcome Speed CSI 3*

1) Shane Sweetnam (IRL) & Indra Van de Oude Heihoef – 0 / 64.73

2) Bliss Heers (USA) & Goodbye – 0 / 66.24

3) Molly Ashe Cawley (USA) & Berdien – 0 / 66.99

4) Amy Millar (CAN) & Christiano – 0 / 67.96

5) Rene Dittmer (GER) & Quatinka – 0 / 68.53

6) Mavis Spencer (USA) & Belladonna 42 – 0 / 68.68

7) Simon McCarthy (IRL) & Gotcha – 0 / 68.75

8) Amy Millar (CAN) & Ericson – 0 / 69.71

9) Bliss Heers (USA) & Christos – 0 / 70.83

10) Ali Ramsay (CAN) & Lutz – 0 / 71.76

11) Nicholas Dello Joio (USA) & Opium du Soufflet – 0 / 72.16

12) Andrew Bourns (IRL) & Menko VD Wellington – 0 / 73.32

Source: Press Release by Allyson Lagiovane / Phelps Sports for Kentucky Horse Shows

Photos: © Phelps Sports / Allyson Lagiovane